The interview is the single most important event in the entire job search process.
- Understand the purpose of the interview. The main objectives of the interview are to convince the employer that you are a desirable candidate, and for you to find out whether the employer is a good fit for you. A desirable candidate is:
- Poised, self-confident, mature, enthusiastic
- Pleasant to interact with
- Conscientious, reliable, has good judgment
- More interested in opportunities to grow rather than in immediate high compensation
- Adaptable, a fast learner
- Able and willing to work hard
- Eager to take on responsibility
- Interested in the particular firm
Ask questions, in order to elicit real information from your interviewer that will help you decide whether you want to work there. Be positive. Your answers should be upbeat in some way, conveying that you are enthusiastic, psychologically healthy, and pleasant to be around. Try to eliminate negative words such as “no”, “not”, “didn’t”, “although”, “but”, “however” from your speech. Most negatives can be presented in a positive way. Be Honest. Don’t let your enthusiasm cause you to exaggerate, and never pretend to know something- or someone- that you really don’t. No one expects you to be superhuman, so don’t try to avoid a question about your past or present job experiences or academic performance. Relax. Take the selection process seriously, but don’t add pressure by thinking that a wrong step will cause irreparable damage. Try to consider each interview to be a positive learning experience, regardless of the outcome.
Preparing For The Interview
Completing the following two steps before going in for the big interview is absolutely essential to establishing oneself as a strong candidate. No matter how good you look on paper, taking the appropriate measures to prepare onself can make or break you in this crucial, detail-oriented process. Put the work in to be properly prepared.
- Self Assessment: Use your knowledge of yourself to develop self-confidence. Completely review your own background before the interview, and be prepared to discuss everything on your resume knowledgably. Be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. Try to make up a short list of three to five of your strongest selling points, so that it will help distinguish you from other candidates. Assess your strong points and have them ready. State them at the opportune moment, calmly and clearly, without bragging but without undue modesty. The interviewer wants to know what you have to offer and doesn’t expect you to be demure about it.
- Research the employer. This will help you anticipate interview questions and to prepare thoughtful, intelligent questions to ask the interviewer. The more you know about the prospective employer, the better able you are to highlight relevant skills and demonstrate how your credentials correspond with the position for which you are applying. If you have researched the employer thoroughly, you can use your interview time to seek information that you were unable to find through available resources.
Best of luck!